Knesset: Guards should leave weapons at work

MK Gal-On says security companies current hold 130,000 weapons, about 40 percent of the guns in the country.

December 6, 2011 05:09
2 minute read.
Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely

Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely_311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), chairwoman of the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women, demanded on Monday that security guards be required to leave their weapons at work, following a report that 24 people were killed in the last decade by guns belonging to off-duty security guards.

The report was issued by Woman to Woman, the Jerusalem Shelter for Battered Women.

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“Security companies seem to have received an exemption from the law that forbids guards to remove their weapons from their place of work,” Hotovely said.

The Likud MK said she would ask Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch to enforce the law and instruct security companies to allocate a secure place for guards to check their weapons.

She gave the Public Security Ministry two months to implement the instructions. Otherwise, the Committee on the Status of Women will propose a bill making security companies responsible for accidents involving their employees’ weapons.

“Women are murdered because security companies do not enforce the rules and give everyone weapons,” said MK Zehava Gal-On (Meretz), who initiated the committee meeting.

Gal-On pointed out that security companies current hold 130,000 weapons, about 40 percent of the guns in the country.

However, MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) took the security guards’ side of the debate, saying that they earned minimum wage or less, and that Hotovely’s demands would require them to “waste time” in order to check in their guns.

“Miserable workers also deserve representation,” he said. “The extra half hour will make it more difficult for them to put food on the table.”

Hotovely responded that the time it took to check in guns should be included in working hours, so guards would be compensated, and that saving human lives was most important.

Moshe Dayan, who heads the Public Security Ministry’s department for gun licenses, said there should be a more intensive selection process for security guards. He also explained that the ministry sought to reduce the number of weapons available to private security companies.

“We’re doing everything we can to prevent this phenomenon,” Dayan said. “However, in some instances, the [employer] can permit a worker to bring a weapon home. It is within his authority.”

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